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Poet’s Word Cracks Man - ROYAL ASCOT


HISTORY was created in the second day’s featured Prince of Wales’s Stakes by Poet’s Word who provided Sir Michael Stoute a record breaking 76th Royal Ascot victory and lowered the colours of Cracksman in the process. In the Champion Stakes last October, over the same 1m2f course and distance, Cracksman had beaten Poet’s Word by seven lengths and the latter was expected to face a tough task in turning the tables. While Cracksman had been lethargic when winning the Coronation Cup on his previous start, trainer John Gosden believed he had excuses. But he was even more off his A-game this time and Frankie Dettori was working away on the hot favourite soon after leaving the stalls.

To his credit, Cracksman hit the front in the straight, but he had no answer when James Doyle went sweeping past him and Poet’s Word shot clear, leaving Cracksman’s connections scratching their heads. Stoute said: “Maybe Cracksman isn’t at his best now, but we beat the others comprehensively. He’s a very consistent, brave horse.” Doyle sporting the silks of Saeed Suhail, added: “I was travelling all over him, Cracksman, it was just a case of hanging on.” Gosden offered no excuses for Cracksman, saying: “I didn’t feel he was particularly helping the jockey at any stage. It was slightly noticeable at Epsom going up the hill. I make no excuses whatsoever. “The other horse on the day had him covered from two out.

To my mind he is just playing around a bit. He did it at Epsom, but he didn’t do it first time out at Longchamp. “At no stage was he travelling or carrying Frankie. We will get him home and sharpen him up a little bit. “We will look into it before the King George, as that is how to play the game. The ability is there, but I didn’t feel he was generous with it today.” Dettori added: “He’s not the same animal I’ve been riding in the spring.” Expanding on his achievement, Stoute, who saddled his first royal winner in 1977 and was surpassing the late Sir Henry Cecil, said: “It means a lot, and to the whole stable as well. Henry’s record was formidable because there were only four days of Royal Ascot in most of his career.

“We’re very glad it’s happened and it’s a great reflection of the staff. I’m grateful for anything; last year we had about 16 runners and five beaten favourites. It’s nice it happened and I’m just happy for it to happen.” Of the winner, Stoute continued: “I’m delighted for him. He’s been in at the deep end in Group Ones and performing very creditably. It was nice to see him win one. “When they were 150 yards into the straight, I thought he would win from there.” Stoute put the seal on a memorable afternoon when Expert Eye stormed home in the Jersey Stakes. Suitably inspired by becoming the winningmost trainer in Royal Ascot history when Poet’s World claimed the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, the master of Freemason Lodge took his tally to 77 victories at the fiesta of Flat racing.

Could It Be Love looked to have done enough from the front, but Expert Eye had all bases covered and spreadeagled a strong field in the hands of James McDonald. Society Power ended up finishing second, with Could It Be Love third. McDonald, who was claiming a first Royal Ascot success, said: “He felt like a rocket ship out there. “Credit to the horse, credit to Sir Michael, he’s a true legend.” Stoute added: “He was such a good 2yo and then things went wrong in the Dewhurst and I’m just so thrilled to see him back to this sort of form. “There has been a lot of work put into this horse by James Savage, my head man. “I’ve not seen convincing homework from Expert Eye, not like that he did last year, but it doesn’t matter now.”

Phoenix rising

Signora Cabello came out on top after a thrilling battle for the Queen Mary Stakes. John Quinn’s charge showed tremendous resolution under a strong Oisin Murphy drive to fend off Gossamer Wings and Shades Of Blue after the trio locked horns throughout the final furlong. The winning distance was a short head and the same. Owners Phoenix Thoroughbreds bought into the winner following her victory in the Marygate Stakes at York the previous time and gained an instant return on their investment. Quinn said: “All she did, really, was improve. She was well on top at the line at York and since then she’s trained lovely.

She’s very unassuming. She’s terribly, terribly tough. I’m really pleased.” Phoenix Thoroughbreds has risen from obscurity faster than the mythological bird, and, standing in the winner’s enclosure here the Bahrain-born CEO, Amer Abdulaziz, outlined his hopes to use the landmark to lift him to the stars. “We need to dominate globally,” he said. “We want to be at the same level as Coolmore and Godolphin. We have a four year plan. We have 150 horses within a year.” He added: “We always set targets and we are going for it. It is very ambitious but you don’t get anywhere without trying. You have to believe.”

Royal first for Botti

William Buick gave Aljazzi a beautiful ride as the filly, homebred by Saleh Al Homaizi and Imad Al Sagar, sprovided her trainer Marco Botti with a first Royal Ascot winner. Sent off among the favourites in the Group 2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes, the 5yo was fresh following a break of 54 days after her third on much softer ground at Sandown in April. She relished the return to a fast surface and flew home towards the stands side rail to score by almost four lengths from Tribute Act, with Wilamina back in third. The winner was going one better than when second to the French-trained Qemah in the same event 12 months earlier. Botti said: “We’ve been so close so many times and I’m delighted the owner kept her in training. William gave her a great ride and she showed a smart turn of foot. This is what we wake up in the morning and hope for, it’s what everyone wants.”

Clean sweep as Ballydoyle runners blossom

Kew Gardens led home a 1-2-3 for trainer Aidan O’Brien in the Queen’s Vase. The master of Ballydoyle was winning the race for a sixth time and his Nelson set out to make all and still led the field turning for home. However Ryan Moore, aboard the winner, had him covered and after going to the front approaching the furlong marker, soon put the race to bed. Ninth behind Masar in the Derby on his previous start, the son of Galileo was four and a half lengths clear of stablemate Southern France at the line with Nelson holding on well in third. Michael Tabor, co-owner of the winner, said: “We’ve always thought he’s a nice horse, really made for this race. Obviously he needs a trip, so the St Leger, why not?” O’Brien added: “We always thought he’d stay. He loves fast ground. He was a little bit disappointing at Epsom, but we’ve been very happy since then. He can do a lot of things. “He has a lot of options. The St Leger is a long way away, but in the autumn that would be a lovely race for him.”

Bay Settles for victory

Settle For Bay, owned by a Dubai branch of multinational company McGettigans Management, scorched clear to give David Marnane a famous victory in the Royal Hunt Cup. Four times a winner on the all-weather at Dundalk in the winter, he made a pleasing comeback when fourth at Leopardstown in May. Towards the centre of the track having raced with a nearside group, Settle For Bay quickened impressively under Billy Lee and provided Marnane with a second royal winner after Dandy Boy’s success in the 2012 Wokingham. Marnane said: “We knew three-quarters of the way through last year he was this sort of class, as he progressed all along.

It is one thing to have it, but another to get him here. He broke his pelvis last year, so he has done remarkably well to do what he has done. “Thankfully the vets did a great job. They are not here today, but they would have been watching. It’s a tough game in our country, but we’ve won a Wokingham and a Hunt Cup. “We will keep our feet on the ground and see where we go. I’d like to come back here on King George day for the valuable handicap, but we will have to see what the handicapper does.” Lee added: “This horse was just cruising. I was there half a furlong too soon, but he was going so well. “David Marnane always had a lot of faith in him, so I was delighted to get the call. He looked like a horse who could step up to Listed and Group class and he showed there that he can.”

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27 Sep 2018
Issue Number: Issue 648
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Dubai playing a key role in British racing, says Jockey Club boss
Busybody Tadhg looks to scale mountains after climbing Hills
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